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Noodles & Co. Makes the Right Move


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With last week’s announcement that it’s removing artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its menu—as well as introducing meats that have never been given antibiotics or hormones—Noodles & Company is going down a much-welcomed path to reviving its brand: honesty.

As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Broomfield, Colorado-based franchise has unleashed a new brand positioning and “food platform” that goes like this: “Real food. Real cooking. Real flavors.” The crux is removing junk from its core menu, including noodles, sauces, soups, condiments, bread and dressing, but excluding beverages, cookies and rice crispies. Sorry, sweet toothers.

CEO Kevin Reddy says the new plan “underscores our commitment to food quality and transparency.” As a foodie and part-time hypochondriac, I couldn’t be happy with this move, and similar moves by other major brands.

With each new domino falling in the direction of honesty in food, we’re getting closer to the time where anything a cut above gas station food comes with a guarantee that it’s not laced with antibiotics or other unwanted stuff.

Noodles is a publicly traded company, and its performance on the stock market throughout 2015 has been a major downer. Its share price has dropped by more than half this year, earning it the dubious company of our other current Scoreboard Top Losers, Regis Corp. and Krispy Kreme.

With good food and pleasing restaurants in generally favorable locations, I’m rooting for Noodles to mount a comeback. Basing it on better food is a smart step to earn some customer goodwill and industry respect.

I’ve never heard the term food platform, but I am on board. For the rest of 2015, my food platform is this: eating better food that’s filled with less of the gross, factory farm-ish stuff I want to avoid.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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